SKETCH: Did Hogan Howe Just Get Called a Liar? mdi-fullscreen

I’m not really news, me, but did Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe just get called a liar? He told the Home Affairs select committee recently that the Met’s crime figures had been classified “competent and reliable” by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary.

The said inspector was in just now and flatly denied it. He’d said he’d looked at the Met’s figures and they showed “cause for concern”. So perturbed was he that he has written to the Commissioner asking him to explain.

There must be a headline in there. They’re suggesting one of Britain’s most senior police officers is an unreliable witness. He fiddled statistics to make himself look better, that he lied to Parliament, the Commissioner of the Met. There’s the story, make of it what you will.

It wasn’t the only instance of police integrity that came up.

Tom Winsor, the chief inspector is widely disliked in the police force on account of his proposed reforms of pay and conditions. Thirty thousand officers marched in London in protest against them.

“They were acting on hearsay,” Winsor said, with the thinnest of smiles. “They failed to look for the primary evidence.”

If it went to court they’d all be in jail.

The message the police were getting was that every officer would be £4,000 worse off whereas in reality, he said, 60 per cent of officers would be paid more.

When asked, when pressed, he said he had no evidence that the misinformation came from the upper levels of the Police Federation, “but it may emerge in due course”.

The police leadership seems to be rotting from the inside.

Is Winsor himself reliable? Is he honest, decent, straight?

Unusually for someone in his sort of position, he didn’t defend the people he is empowered to inspect. That’s a good sign for sketch writers.

And when asked whether he felt he was in any way responsible for the loss of police morale he said the most unexpected thing in the most unusual way.

He said, “Yes.”

That’s just not how regulators and inspectors speak.

The man is Christmas.

PS: There was a terrific row when Winsor wore a police uniform to a memorial event. He isn’t a policeman. The uniform was disrespected. The online fury was a phenomenon. It is one of the things best known about him.

His explanation?

The uniform wasn’t a police uniform. It is the uniform provided to Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary. “It is a uniform that only I am entitled to wear,” he said, with that thin smile he has.

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